Juneteenth events across Iowa for 2023

Juneteenth marks June 19, 1865, when the last enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas, learned of their freedom.

Share your Juneteenth event with Black Iowa News. Many communities across the state are busy preparing for upcoming Juneteenth celebrations, and Black Iowa News wants to keep a running list here. Email your event details and flier to dana@blackiowanews.com.

Iowa Juneteenth Observance General Chairperson Dwana Bradley unveiled the Iowa Juneteenth bus on Thursday in downtown Des Moines. The faces of Bradley and Gary Lawson, Juneteenth general chair emeritus, who founded the Des Moines celebration in 1990 and pushed for and secured the annual statewide recognition in 2002, adorn the bus. The Iowa Juneteenth Observance runs June 9-23 in Des Moines. 
Here’s a list of Juneteenth events around the state:

Freedom Day in Ames/Story County
Movie Night, 8 p.m. Friday, June 16, Roosevelt Park, Ames
Juneteenth Festivities, Noon-4:30 p.m. Saturday, June 17, Bandshell Park, Ames

Juneteenth Festival, 4 p.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, June 17, The District at Prairie Trail.

Cedar Rapids
African American Museum of Iowa’s Juneteenth Commemoration, June 10-June 17.
Storytime: 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. June 10, Marion Public Library. 
Decolonizing Mental Health Film Screening: 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. June 14, Cedar Rapids Public Library. 
dwb Driving While Black: 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. June 16, Des Moines Opera, performance and discussion, Cedar Rapids Public Library. 
Juneteenth Festival: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. June 17, NewBo City Market.1619 Freedom School interview online, 7 p.m. June 19. 

Quad City Juneteenth Festival, The Friends of MLK, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday, June 17, at the Lincoln Center TMBC at 318 E. 7th St.

Des Moines
Iowa Juneteenth Observance, June 9-23 (Des Moines) 
DSM BLM: Juneteenth Celebration, 4 p.m.-8 p.m. Sunday, June 18, Wilkie House.

Juneteenth Freedom Celebration, June 16-18.
Art exhibition, 5 p.m.-9 p.m. June 16, Multicultural Family Center, 1157 Central Ave.
Community Cookout, Noon-3 p.m., June 17, Jackson Park, 15th and Main St.
Community Prayer and Praise, 11 a.m., June 18, Jackson Park, 15th and Main St.
The Dubuque County Historic Preservation Commission, Dubuque Branch NAACP and the Dubuque Museum of Art will host a 30-minute presentation at 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 18, at the Dubuque Museum of Art, followed by a walking tour for about an hour, followed by a reception at the museum.

Fort Dodge
Pleasant Valley Awareness “Stop the Violence” Community Juneteenth Celebration
11 a.m. Saturday, June 17, H.C. Meriweather Park, Fort Dodge.

Iowa City
Juneteenth Concert & Celebration, 4 p.m. Friday, June 16, Iowa City Pedestrian Mall.

North Liberty
Juneteenth Storytime, 10:30 a.m. Friday, June 9, North Liberty Library. 
“The Last to Know” film screening and discussion, 2 p.m. Saturday, June 10, Ranshaw House.

Juneteenth Celebration, Noon – 7 p.m., Monday, June 19, Central Park.

Juneteenth/Father’s Day celebration, Noon, Sunday, June 18, Washington United Methodist Church.
Juneteenth Commemoration, 6 p.m., Monday, June 19, 115 W. Washington St.

Juneteenth Weekend Celebration: 1 p.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, June 17 and Noon and 2 p.m., Sunday, June 18, Sullivan Memorial Park.

Juneteenth marks June 19, 1865, when the last enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas, learned of their freedom — two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863. Blacks began celebrating their freedom in 1866, with cookouts, prayer services and community events. Today, Juneteenth is the nation’s longest-running annual celebration of Black culture.

*This list was updated: 9:06 p.m., June 15. Want to add your event to this list or have an update? Email dana@blackiowanews.com

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